Iceland: Reykjavík

Our last day was spent in Reykjavík after a little silliness with the apartment I’d booked for two nights. It’s a good thing we arrived when we did because the people who came right after us didn’t have a place to go. Anyone remember the Seinfeld ‘reservation’ show? We were relocated to a different building but it was a great place and still close to the main part of the city. BTW, about 200,000 of the 320,000 people in Iceland live in this metro area! The rest of the country really is sparse in people and towns. Reykjavík is an hour behind Ireland (and therefore four hours ahead of the eastern US).

1. I liked the flexing teeth on these windows
2-4. Hallgrímskirkja church with its 5275-pipe organ. Supposedly the design approximates the country’s basalt lava flow columns (see previous post from the beach at Vík). Out front is a statue of Leif Ericson, a gift from the US upon the 1000th anniversary of Iceland’s parliament (a few posts ago, Þingvellir).
5. Near the church: a museum and statues by Einar Jónsson
6. Quite the transport bike!
7-8. We found a cute little sushi place and really enjoyed it. We haven’t found any in Ireland yet.
9. Finally a roundabout going the right direction. These trees with the red fruits were rather strange.
10. A street in the shopping area; note the place to plug in your car!
11. Not sure why the English pub only has signs for Irish beers, but David did have a couple pints somewhere around here while I took a nap.
12-14. Streets downtown. The ‘mountain’ decoration on the blue house was made with individual shiny foil pieces that rippled in the breeze. #31 was our apartment building.
15. A number of places looked a bit shabby, including this apparent daycare. I liked the parking lot of strollers buggies.
16. Sun-Craft Viking ship installlation. David admired the stainless steel construction.
17. I loved this Free Stuff sign! There were items left in the little area by the happily painted wall. Great idea, but people would leave their trash here if you found this in the States.
18. The really nice one bedroom apartment where we stayed. This was the only place that didn’t have twin beds.
19-20. View from and of Perlan, a facility with a museum, rotating restaurant, and viewing deck built around big hot water tanks.

We had an early flight the next morning and managed to return the car and get to the airport just in time. To blow the rest of our króna, we bought breakfast and snacks. A few minutes later I learned why my simply-labeled croissant was about five bucks: it was full of bacon. Blech (and then I went hungry!).

We had another whole day and night to kill in London, and to get all the way from Gatwick to Stansted, thanks to a canceled flight and the difficulty of traveling between Iceland and Ireland. We made the most of it by stopping at Tower of London, getting some good food, and having a proper (if strangely decorated) hotel. The final adventure was a Ryanair flight, which lived up to its reputation. I was able to squash my bag into the required size and had checked us in online and paid for checked luggage ahead of time and brought our printed single-sided A4 boarding passes from home (you might think this is overkill in the description but all these points are essential if you don’t want to get kicked off Ryanair). They tried to sell us scratch-off tickets during the flight and played a fanfare upon landing. The seats didn’t even have the ability to recline and there were no tray tables. But we flew for about $65 total for the two of us! It’s ok if you prepare yourself psychologically for super-steerage and don’t plan to nap during all the sales pitches.

Summary: Iceland was the most beautiful place I’ve visited. Save your pennies, put on your hiking boots, and get ye there!

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